Category Archives: anticipation

Feeling a little numb….

Taken on Monday, this rose has a gorgeous fragrance. And plenty of buds just waiting to be enjoyed….

My lovely friend Laura Bruno Lilly tagged me in a challenge to provide three quotes in three days.  I have been trying to feel inspired, but just can’t find an appropriate quote.  However, writing has been a wily distraction; unbelievably, I may be as close to the end as is possible.  Perhaps on Friday I will actually complete The Hawk.

No scent on this bush, but I’m not bothered. I do like me some roses….

In the meantime, hehehe….  But really, that novel’s conclusion has sneaked up on me; recently I’ve written two chapters just like in the old days, although now it takes more than merely the morning to finish my thoughts.  Still, it’s a fantastic feeling, or rather, a numbing sensation; is this real or am I kidding myself?  The End, oh sure, uh-huh, right….  Good things come to those who wait rattled around in my brain, but when I looked it up, that phrase is attributed to a ketchup commercial, so I’m not actually going to employ it as my quote.  But dangit, truer words are rarely spoken.

Our apricot tree has a plethora of fruits, some of which I really should thin out, but I’ve been busy writing….

There have been numerous occasions during the construction of this saga where I have nearly given up, yet far within me lies a door behind which the stories dwell, and for whatever reason I’ve just kept knocking at it, unable to tear myself away.  Now it’s as though I am ready to step over that threshold, and the tangle of emotions are indeed overwhelming.  And if I feel this way with a chapter remaining, how the heck am I gonna be when it’s finished?

On Tuesday some of the buds had opened, akin to how quickly my novel’s conclusion has emerged. Maybe by the weekend this plant will be bursting with blooms!

Dude….  Instead I’m posting pictures of my garden, and in a couple of days we’ll see what happens.  If nothing else, I am almost done, which honestly seems unreal.  When it becomes the truth, I’ll post a note.  For now, enjoy however spring appears in your neck of the woods.  Good things do comes to those who persevere, lol.

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Never Say No to Part 13

Okay, so after all that ballyhooing about working on the last section of The Hawk, today I finished Part Twelve, without writing The End.  I’m not disappointed, nor overly shocked; if I’ve learned anything while writing novels, it’s that I’m never in charge as much I want to be.

This quilt will be five blocks wide, six blocks long, all trimmed to 11 1/2 inches.

That said, major changes to the story line aren’t on the horizon, although that too could be in error.  It’s just that the last few chapters have been leading up to some sort of shift, and suddenly this morning, whoop there it was.  Part Twelve is done, Part Thirteen looming in the future.

The current state of my sewing table….

The timing couldn’t be better; we’re going away on holiday soon.  And I’m still planning to complete this novel before the end of the year, with the added impetus that Little Miss will be getting a baby sister in December and if I don’t wrap up this story by then, no telling when I’ll get time to do so before la nieta numero dos is two herself.  Exciting times for our family in the months ahead, and I am so hoping one of those joys will be that this grandma can say The Hawk is finito!

Blocks waiting to be sewn, as well as The Burrito’s handiwork at the bottom of the wall….

In other ongoing sagas….  I’m making a wedding quilt for friends of youngest daughter, and wanted to use this pattern I found on Wombat Quilts.  It was fun cutting the fabrics, but I’m hoping to find more low volume prints in colours other than white on vacation.  I have twelve (hmm, there’s that number again….) blocks completed, three more on the wall, but I’d love to mix it up for the remaining fifteen.  This is definitely a project I’ll do again, so unused squares can be set aside for future needs.  I’m still handsewing the gingham blue quilt, more irons in the fire than I can sort.  A baby quilt for nieta #2 however isn’t one of them.  I have a blanket already waiting for that girl, as well as burp cloths made just for her.  She’ll have plenty of hand-me-downs from her big sister, but special keepsakes are necessary, even if only for wiping baby spit.  Looking forward to that joy once again, all the more reason to get The Hawk in the can.  Part Thirteen will commence upon my return, as will quilting and blogging.  In the meantime, enjoy August, and stay cool….

Building a Big Quilt

This shot was taken by my husband, the rest by yours truly....

This shot was taken by my husband, the rest by yours truly….

I suppose this is like writing The Hawk, but much less time is necessary.  I’ve been working on this since February, taking several breaks throughout March.  Now I feel it’s time to get moving, not that I’m planning on using this for months, although it’s been cool lately, small storms blowing through.

This will be for autumn when I’m feeling like wrapping around myself a large colourful blanket.  Still not sure if I’ll back it with cotton or flannel, but the top is coming together.

Initially I made small blocks, then added some together to fashion a few large ones.

Initially I made small blocks, then added some together to fashion a few large ones.

What I want to accomplish with this quilt is shade and size.  Depth and lightness.  A quilt encompassing but broken in stages.  I’m thinking a very light pinkish-red for sashing, maybe a couple of different hues to bring all these random blocks together.

This is the biggest single piece, for now...

This is the biggest single piece, for now…

I’m thinking nothing fall-like in shades, I’m thinking how wonderful it will be to drape myself in this decadently vibrant creation.

And I’m thinking of hand-quilting this baby once it gets to that point.  I’ll recline under it in the summer evenings while watching baseball as stitches are weaved through three layers, bringing all this sewing into one cohesive piece.

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Some log cabin blocks have been made; I love sewing these blocks!

I love walking into the sewing/writing grotto and spying this on the quilt wall.  I love peeking at the assembled fabrics that gather on the table to my right, waiting to be made into yet one more block.

Every time I turn around while writing, these collections of colour fill the available space.  To the left I’ll add another row of blocks, one of these days.

Maybe it’s a lot like writing The Hawk, of which Part Ten is underway.  It’s slow-going though, unlike the last few sections which have flown from my brain like no time remains.

Lately that mood has been for the sewing.  I don’t mind; all things in their own good time, be they fabrics or fowl-themed novels.

Waiting for a baby….

Long ago (well, not that long) there was just Buttercup, the grand-basset.  Buttercup likes walks, food, belly rubs, and quilts.  Okay, she likes laying on soft coverings, and my daughter and son-in-law like protecting at least one end of their sofa.  But while Buttercup thinks the burrito is fine for a visit, there’s no telling what she’ll do when a small person moves into her home 24/7.

Right now Buttercup rules that roost, be it on the couch, her parents’ bed, or anywhere else she lands.  She’s still the grandest of the grand-bassets, and always will be.

However, and don’t say this too loudly in her hearing, grandkids have usurped her place.  Oh, I still scratch her belly and croon sweet greetings when I see her, but little folks of the human nature have slid BC down several rungs.  My daughter is still waiting for her bundle of joy; I visited with them yesterday, and I have to say there are few things in this world more beautiful than a very pregnant lady.  My daughter pshawed my compliments, but one day when her little girl is due, my not-so-little girl will understand my gushing.

Not sure what Buttercup is going to make of it all though.  She’s quite a proprietary creature, her bed, her iPad, her dog door.  Once a toddler is trying to escape through that bolt-hole, what will happen?

And in the meantime, there are still projects for this abuela to complete; I’ve sewn up the pixilated heart quilt top, finished last night as the Warriors squeaked past the Rockets, while the Giants slipped by the Dodgers.  Today will be one of fashioning a binding and backing for that patchwork heart, the story behind it tumultuous but endearing.  And it’s truly up to my impending granddaughter to how much I manage to sew.  So many stories associated with various comforters; I was working on one for myself before the burrito arrived, and now he finds that quilt very intriguing.  Nothing more rewarding than seeing one’s handiwork capturing the fancy of a grandson.

Well, except for the beauty of my pregnant daughter, and of course, Buttercup.  She’s a treasure all her own….

Birthday Books and an Improv Quilt

Recently I turned forty-nine, which was quite lovely; I spent the morning with the burrito, the afternoon with Buttercup and her folks.  My eldest is only a few weeks from motherhood, but this abuela didn’t feel aged, only pleased for adult kids who proffer babies and incredible chocolate cake with strawberries and whipped cream.

And fabrics!  I received all sorts of sewing-related pressies, but the best presents were two books about improvisational quilting, given by my husband.  That man, what a dear, especially when I send him links to said gifts.  One was on pre-order, the other a last-minute find.  The latter arrived on the day, while the former came yesterday.  And now I’m feeling like I can’t complete my WIP fast enough to slap more fabric on the quilt wall, then under the needle.

But first, let me note just a little about that WIP, and I don’t mean The Hawk, which I’m currently revising in the mornings.  I’m speaking of a quilt that ushered in my improv craziness, one that I wasn’t certain would even amount to more than a wall hanging.  Right now it’s looking to be baby-quilt sized, but the end result is still up in the air.  I’m thinking some borders, maybe.

I’m thinking all kinds of things since receiving two books which have broken open a whole new quilting world.  Yet, in reading Sherri Lynn Wood’s The Improv Handbook for Modern Quilters, maybe this was how I started in the first place.  I didn’t use a ruler, I didn’t even know about a quarter-inch seam!  All I knew was slapping together fabrics that made me feel good, and voila, I had a comforter to stave off my dad’s chemo chills.

Alexandra Ledgerwood’s Improvising Tradition is my other food for thought; in this book, outlined quilts bristle with excitement, providing this newbie with necessary guidance.  I want to make her Nesting Squares Quilt using Wood’s no ruler mantra.  But first, I must complete my own take on improv quilting….

There’s awesome liberation in improv quilting; choosing a piece of fabric, laying it here, then moving it there, then turning a finished block upside down.  I even toyed with the notion of jumping right into Sherri Lynn Wood’s no rulers ploy within this quilt, but decided to continue squaring off scraps and blocks, not wishing it to be that wonky.

I also want to note that I came across improv quilting due to one of my fave sites, Film in the Fridge.  It was this quilt which caught my eye, and while it wasn’t featured in Wood’s book, I am in love with this score, called Floating Squares.  I’ve chosen some fabrics with which to get myself started, but this afternoon, as my husband and I watch the Giants and Angels, I’ll be sewing together my own little experiment.

This is the part of getting older that I love; discovering I’m still plenty young enough to acquire new skills.  I didn’t start noveling until I hit forty; my fifties tease with the idea of more quilts than sense!  Which, for me, isn’t all that hard to achieve, hee hee….

Foreshadowing….

With the husband away, I’ve been keeping busy, mainly with sewing, although a few other tasks have come to hand.  Tonight I did some reading of The Hawk; usually I read first thing in the morning, but then usually I don’t write a blog entry this late in the day.

The current state of the quilt wall, a harbinger of the season to come…

Usually by now the husband is home, dinner has been partaken, and I’m content to ramble with the man I love.  But this week isn’t like most weeks I know.

Now, I could say that about much of 2014; usually my loved ones don’t undergo chemotherapy.  Usually I don’t fashion quilts.  Usually I’m writing…  Writing, hmph!  Not much of that this year, but perhaps that’s foreshadowing the way my life is looking to evolve.  Less words, more fabric, hehehe.  Um, hey, fabric, pretty colourful fabric…

No, no, this post is about writing, or the lack of it, but sometimes in order to write correctly one must look back at what was written, or think about what is going to (eventually one of these days) be written.  Because one of my favourite parts of writing is foreshadowing.  It’s like being able to see into the future, gleefully taking stock of all that is still to come.

Now, I have no idea what’s happening tomorrow.  I mean, I can assume what will or won’t occur, but within the confines of fiction, I’m aces with the realizations!  Okay, I’m pretty good at it, and The Hawk is a perfect example of how sometimes I’m even smarter than I know.  Of course, it would takes ages for me to give the background on this or that plot line to fully illustrate just how clever I am, although clever isn’t truly the correct word; damned lucky are the best words to describe how I fall into writing.  I am gosh darned blessed to put this scene here, that twist there, and only in reading over the whole bleeping enchilada do I get to savour that, well, blessedness.  Not luck at all, merely the awareness of writing something that is more like a gift than a chore.

That’s what writing is for me, when I manage some.  It’s the biggest treasure in the world.

Now, treasures come in a variety of guises; some are amazing, like the extra chocolates left over from the party favours I made this afternoon.  Some are trickier to discern, like my father’s chemotherapy.  Fatigue and nausea continue to plague him, and Radium 223 is still a no-go.  But he’s here, five and a half years after cancer was diagnosed, so I can’t complain, and neither does he, which means I really can’t gripe.  And as for writing, or the lack of it, well, I’m placated when I read a few chapters of a VERY LONG BOOK, finding that what I set into motion in chapter 22 plays out very well in chapter 71.  How cool is that?  And now in chapter 72, I’ve planted the seeds for what’s going to occur in chapter….  Well, I don’t know the number yet, but one of these days I will.

(I’m sure of that.)

Ahem, and when I do, I’ll smile, thinking to when I foreshadowed the fact that The Hawk got that far.  Not sure I’ll post about it, maybe I’ll be too tied up in sewing.  Right now, Christmas place mats adorn the quilt wall, my godchild’s quilt sewn into rows, which need to be sewn into a quilt top.  But the finished party favours are taking space on the work table, why I’m not pinning rows together, but blogging instead.  And if that wasn’t enough….

Master Z has made his appearance!  I’m a de facto grandmother as of late last night, to an eight-pound, nine-ounce bundle of joy.  It’s an odd sensation, I’ve never been a grandmother before, but now his photo graces my phone’s lock screen, and I’ve been considering that little miracle on and off all day.  The party favours aren’t for him, but they are baby shower-related, which I’ll wax more about soon enough.

Let’s just say that for now, Buttercup is still the grand-basset.  But in a few months, she’ll assume the moniker of grandma-dog.  She’s a grand old lady, if nothing else, worthy of all the loves given to her.  There aren’t any bassets in The Hawk, but one of these days, a story will come along, with her name written all over it.  And in the meantime, I’ll be thinking about the WIP, which is The Hawk, whether I’m writing it or not.  Foreshadowing counts, that’s all I’m saying.

Tropical Pop Quilt

I confess; the name for this quilt is pinched from the genre of music made by English singer Hollie Cook, of whom I had the very good fortune to see live on Thursday night in Oakland, at Leo’s.  Ms. Cook’s music could also be termed reggae pop, or reggae, but names aside, she RAWKED the intimate venue, in her lovely British manner, and I highly recommend her two albums, Hollie Cook and Twice.  And if you like dub, pick up Prince Fatty’s Hollie Cook In Dub.  All three records are fantastic, and we were lucky enough to actually purchase the vinyl of Ms. Cook’s music.  Maybe the next time we see her, and I’m sure there will be a next time, we’ll get the Prince Fatty LP.

But back to quilts; it’s for my sister, this blanket the mate for the Brother-In-Law quilt.  He’s doing very well, post-surgery, and she’s been too busy to ask about her quilt, so I’ll get to surprise her with this offering.  Not a sort of peace pie appeasement, merely a gift, and hopefully completed well before the holidays.  The bulk of the prints are Hawaiian shirts (she LOVES the Islands), with a few random squares of camo thrown in for good measure.  (Like her hubby, Sis likes to hunt.)  The solid fabric is Kona Ash, which I used for the Bestie Far Away quilt sashes; I adore this hue, it goes with anything!  Especially vibrant prints, which dominate both of these quilts.  But the Tropical Pop quilt seemed easier to sort, making every other square a solid.  Not so hard on the eyes, you know.

The binding will be scrappy; some of the prints mixed with solid Kona blues.  And the backing is a charcoal flannel sheet.  I’m curious to see how soft this quilt comes out, as the shirts were well weathered, but the Kona ash is not.  Still, the flannel sheet has been through the wash more than a few times, so odds are it will be a very snuggly quilt from the get-go.

Currently it's in the washer, but I had to make sure it was suitable for snuggling.  Indeed, it's perfect!

Currently it’s in the washer, but I had to make sure it was suitable for snuggling. Indeed, it’s perfect!

And after I spent last night under the Bestie Far Away blanket, flannel-backed quilts are definitely my faves.  I was testing the snuggle-factor, and that comforter passed with flying colours.  Wish my Giants were riding that high; tonight’s game will be definitive.  Either they’ll be tied two all with Kansas City, or on the brink of elimination.  An intriguing kettle of fish I’ll say, but then, so is the Tropical Pop quilt.  Can’t wait to get those rows under the presser foot!